Tanzania's need for family planning

Investing in the health of adolescent girls is a smart economic move for Tanzania.

We are a youthful country. Statistics from the Population Census shows that Tanzania has a population of nearly 50 million, and that 50% of the population is 18 or younger - making Tanzania one of the world’s youngest countries. We are currently the 5th most populous country in Africa and with a birth rate of 37.25 births per 1000 the population is growing rapidly.

No doubt that this put a heavy strain on the government, as they must ensure that the increase in population matches infrastructures, classrooms, healthcare providers, teachers etc. Something which most developing countries fail to match.

To cut down fertility rate, invest in family planning and keeping girls in school

Yet FP2020 data suggests that there are some 1.5 million women (28% of the population) who want, but lack access to, modern contraception in Tanzania.

Reproductive health challenges in Tanzania include frequent contraceptive stock outs, persistent stigma surrounding contraceptive use, and a lack of available contraceptive options and sex education for young women and girls. As a result, 48% of 19 year-old women in Tanzania are either pregnant or have already given birth.

Harnessing the Demographic Dividends

Ensuring that young women and girls have a choice will ensure that Tanzania is on track to realising the Demographic Dividend (DD); the economic benefit, arising from a significant increase in the ratio of working-aged adults relative to young dependents.

When birth rates decline significantly, the age structure shifts to have more working-aged adults, opening a window of opportunity for accelerated  economic growth through increased productivity, greater household savings, and lower costs for basic social services for children.

One of the best way of cutting down fertility rates is to enhance education, particularly female school enrollment and general female empowerment, expanding access to family planning, focusing on underserved sub-groups such as youth. 

Efforts by Tanzania to cut down fertility rate

One of the most consequential decisions a couple can make is when and if to have children. This determination reverberates on education, income, health and general well-being for the family, children and community at large.

Christopher Purdy, President DKT International

Tanzania is working collaboratively with CSOs to enhance capacity of FP programmes to address all barriers of demand, access and use of contraception among married and unmarried couples, and underserved populations, with special focus on expanding method choice and commodity security, task shifting and strengthening of community-based services. 

Most importantly, Tanzania has already shown a strong commitment to expanding family planning, as is demonstrated by the country’s commitment to FP2020. Our nation has demonstrated an unwavering commitment on increasing national budget allocation for FP commodities and educational campaigns. In the 2015/2016 budget the government added TSZ 5 billion to the health budget specifically for FP commodities.

In this year’s budget 2017/2018 the government has upped the investment to TZS 14 billion for FP commodities. 

Great news for women and girls who will have the opportunity to plan their families and their futures and fulfil their full potential.

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